Michigan State drops home opener to No. 4 Cornell

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(Photo by: Adam Ruff/Adam Ruff P

Mitchell Lewandowski/Photo: MSU Athletic Communications

Kyle Hatty, Hockey Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING – Michigan State opened Munn Ice Arena for the 2019-20 season by welcoming in the No. 4 Cornell Big Red in the opener on Friday night. Final shot totals were 30 for Cornell and 28 for MSU.

The biggest storyline from this game was the penalties. The game was chippy and physical from the start and it escalated from hitting to skirmishes after the whistle, but that also cost the Spartans because it led to multiple penalties, and Cornell took advantage of those chances. Michigan State racked up nine penalties to spend a whopping 18 minutes on the penalty kill. That turned out to be a big factor in the outcome, because Cornell scored two of their three goals on the man advantage.

Head coach Danton Cole was asked about the production from lower lines after the game.

“Tonight would have been a great night for somebody on the third or fourth line to bang in a rebound, I mean that’s what we needed we needed one bounce to help get us somewhere in overtime,” said Cole.

Before penalties became a consistent issue for Michigan State, they did have the edge over the top-five Big Red. However, it caused many of their key players such as Jerad Rosburg, Dennis Cesana and Tommy Apap to become fatigued late in the second period, making the one-goal deficit too much to overcome.

Patrick Khodorenko had another solid game after his three-assist night in the second game against Colorado College. He tallied a goal and an assist against Cornell on Friday and was an excellent player in all three zones of the ice, finding his teammates with quality passes all night.

“We’ve got to have the same mindset we had the first five minutes today. We came out pretty hot on had a few chances.” Khodorenko said when asked about going into Saturday’s matchup.

In the third period it was all Cornell. Michigan State didn’t generate much offense at all, except for the power play they had with six minutes left to play in regulation. Other than that, they were not able to generate offense when it was even strength.

The best player for the Big Red tonight was top line winger Morgan Barron. Barron was an All-ECAC selection last season and led the offensive charge for Cornell tonight with two assists on Cornell’s three goals.

Overall the game was physical, and the teams played hard and fast, but goals came at a premium tonight thanks to excellent goaltending from both sides, but Cornell avenged last season’s sweep and spoils Michigan State’s home opener.

The two teams will meet again Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. at Munn Ice Arena.